Modern Day Literacy – More Than Just Words
How literate are you? If someone asked you this question, you might be offended. The underlying assumption that you are anything but fully literate seems insulting. What if instead, someone asked “how financially literate are you?” That prior indignation might turn to a sheepish shuffling of feet. Books, newspapers, emails, websites – words are all around us. Literacy is nothing less than a survival skill in today’s United States. But what about money? Isn’t that all around us as well? Credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, tax returns, college savings plans, 401(k)s . . . Is financial literacy any less of a necessary skill than orthographic literacy today?
The latest study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy (2014) show that 86% of adult Americans have at least basic literacy skills. While many argue this percentage is appallingly low, we can at least say there is not a single school in America that does not teach reading & writing skills. As a nation, we’ve obviously decided that literacy is of paramount value. Can we say the same about financial literacy?
Let’s take a look at financial education requirements in America’s schools. According to the Council for Economic Education, only 20 states require high school students to take a course in economics, and only 17 require a course in personal finance. In a world where money is as important as reading, there seems to be a misalignment. To add another layer, in a study conducted by the National Financial Educators Council, more than half the participants aged 18-24 responded that “money management” is the high-school level course they thought would be most beneficial to their personal lives. Students want to learn about money, but schools are not necessarily offering the courses they crave.
If schools are not covering the basics, who will? Appreciating the importance of financial literacy for all ages, Yeske Buie has a program that provides resources to children and grandchildren of Clients from toddlers to college. Furthermore, we are happy to have a conversation with a child of any age – good money habits can never start too soon.
Since learning should never stop we are always open to helping Clients explore ways to increase their personal financial literacy. From conversations at the office to webinars to Client events, Yeske Buie offers many ways to learn more. After all, Learn Big is one of our core values!
Wrapping up, if you’d like a quick insight into your personal financial literacy, we share FINRA’s Financial Capability Study. Take the quiz, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t score highly – only 37% of participants are able to answer at least four of the five questions correctly.
We’ve shared some of our thoughts regarding a very broad issue today, and certainly have not covered every side of the conversation. If you have more thoughts to add, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and share!